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Sunday, 20 April 2014

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Risk of infection prompts Barrow hospital decorations ban

FESTIVE decorations and trees have been banned from large areas of Furness General Hospital in Barrow – in a bid to prevent infection.

And in areas where they will be permitted, a strict timeframe will be enforced, allowing them to be displayed for just seven days from Friday December 20 to December 27.

The decision “was not taken lightly” staff were told in a circular which set out the no-nonsense guidelines.

In a letter to staff, deputy chief nurse Mary Moore states that no other decorations will be allowed aside from a tree in a day room or one in day hospital departments. It reads: “One Christmas tree can be displayed in a day room or equivalent.

“No additional Christmas decorations are to be displayed.”

Staff have been reminded that, while December “is the season to be jolly”, they may not wear any accessories other than a plain wedding band and small plain metal stud earrings.

Reasons given included fear decorations would increase the surface area for dust collection, inhibit cleaning and act as a barrier to infection prevention.

One member of staff said: “Did not know Scrooge worked for the NHS – this is infection control gone mad.”

Mrs Moore said yesterday: “Celebrating Christmas is not just about tinsel at Furness General Hospital. We have not imposed a full ban on Christmas decorations, far from it.

“What we’ve done is ask staff in clinical areas to restrict the number of decorations they put up, and the period of time they are up for. Decorations are up around the main public areas of the hospital and patients, as they always have been, are able to display cards.

“It is important to remember that we have some very poorly patients in hospital and contracting an infection can have very serious consequences for them. Ensuring a clean environment for patients while in hospital helps us to reduce the risk of infection – something we are sure all staff and members of the public would support us in.

“We would like to thank our staff, volunteers and patients for their assistance with ensuring we all do everything we can to ensure we stamp out hospital acquired infections.”

The letter also states that trees will only be on display for two weeks in outpatient departments.

Have your say

This is absolutely ridiculous. It's bad enough that someone is in hospital during the festive season, but to not see a Christmas tree or any decorations at all. I have a very good friend who is in hospital and she is unable to walk so cannot access the day room to see a Christmas tree. Surely, this is CRACKERS.

Posted by Kim Smith on 16 December 2013 at 16:19

Sounds like common sense to restrict the length of time decorations would be allowed but just a bit worried that too rigid an application might be applied. Paper hats on Christmas Day do bring cheer for people stuck in hospital beds and a trip down to a decorated area in a wheelchair would relieve boredom too.

Posted by Margie Arts on 12 December 2013 at 09:44

View all 5 comments on this article

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